New Circuit, Familiar Faces
F3 Cup pays its first visit to Snetterton's 200 circuit - and an old friend makes a welcome return
F3 Cup makes its first visit ever to the Snetterton 200 circuit this weekend (13/14 May), where getting effective slipstreaming from the quick F3 cars is likely to be a key factor this weekend. It's a quality grid, with the largest entry seen for several years boosted by the return of the popular Gino Ussi to the Championship, as part of the Chris Dittmann Racing line-up.
Having dominated the opening event at Donington, Shane Kelly is certainly going to be looking for more wins in the University of Wolverhampton Racing Team Dallara F308. However the field is so tight that he is unlikely to have an easy run, with Jacopo Sebastiani second in the points table after an excellent set of results at Donington in his CF Racing-run F311, and CF Racing team mate Stuart Wiltshire right behind him holding third place in the table.
Several of this weekend's potential winners had a very difficult time at Donington. Reigning champion George Line struggled with straight line speed, and also lost a race result due to a technical mix-up over tyres. Cian Carey came away from Donington with two fastest laps but clipped the wall in the second race, loosing a good result in the process. However he had certainly demonstrated front running pace in his Chris Dittmann Racing F311. Robbie Watts started well at Donington with a strong third place in the first race, but then he also dropped the car in the second race while chasing Shane Kelly for the lead. Team Fox Racing did an excellent job to rebuild the front end, but then an unrelated electrical problem stopped the car in the third race, leaving Watts in a frustrated eleventh place in the standings. James Heffernan's CF Racing entry also couldn't deliver the driver's undoubted potential when a mysterious misfire defied even the solution of a mid-event engine change.
Meanwhile several drivers put in very strong performances and are well placed now to move up the table. Tony Bishop has settled in well at Team Fox Racing, as has Peter Venn with Chris Dittmann Racing. Tony is a well established front runner in F3 Cup, while Peter Venn has joined the championship with a strong base of experience in both single seater and sportscar racing.
Adrian Holey leads the Trophy Class in his very smart, Wally Lyles prepared, Dallara F300 but may see some serious class opposition here as Malcolm Scott may bring along his F398 car, after his F306 had water system problems at Donington.
Dave Gillet joined F3 Cup this season and immediately impressed delivering three strong results at Donington. Mark Harrison also had a good run at Donington considering that his F308, in period livery, had not turned a wheel before the event, and he will be looking to move up the results sheet here; as will a rejuvenated Richard Purcell. His excellent showing at Donington was blighted when he clipped a slower car and only narrowly avoided a major launch accident, but lost a good result in the third race. Phillips Jeans started work on the steep F3 learning curve at Donington and made impressive progress in his Chris Dittman Racing run car, which he is sure to build on here.
With a large, quality, field and slipstreaming duels in prospect it should be an F3 Cup event to savour this weekend.
Words: Simon Davey